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“Everything changes and nothing stands still.” Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote these insightful words more than 2,500 years ago, and they still hold true today – especially when it comes to customer care. When you consider that the typical voice-only contact center of a decade ago now has nine communication channels, it’s easy to see the rapid evolution of both customer service technology and customer expectations.
The recent Forrester report Plan Now for Customer Service in 2021 highlights five emerging technologies that are already shaping the future of customer care. In this three-part blog series, we’re sharing how companies can stay up-to-date with several of these up-and-coming technologies to support their CX strategies and infrastructure investments.
One of the emerging technologies in the Forrester report that will have far-reaching impact on companies across nearly every industry is the internet of things (IoT). Within the next five years, there will be over 30 billion connected devices, which will shift some companies from being product-based to service-based.
Vehicles, healthcare devices, appliances, manufacturing equipment, and even buildings are already being embedded with software, sensors, and network connectivity to enable them to collect and exchange data. The breadth of connected devices will only increase, and this will have a dramatic impact on the delivery of customer service.
For many companies that have focused solely on selling products, the IoT will lead them to adopting more relationship-centric service models, which can open up both new opportunities and challenges. With exponential increases in available data generated from connected devices, companies gain the ability to closely monitor the usage of their products and offer preemptive service. In turn, customers will expect more personalized, proactive engagement and will choose to buy from companies that are able to offer this level of service.
To leverage the tremendous volume of data that connected devices will generate, companies need to move beyond how they’re going to collect the information to what they’re going to do with it. In many cases, there may be a series of actions that need to be taken in multiple periods of time.
For example, a home radon detection system manufacturer may monitor its products in real time as a services to its clients. If a product triggers an alert because of an unusually high radon reading, the first action may be to have a company representative call the homeowner to troubleshoot the problem. If the problem cannot be resolved, a technician will then visit the home to evaluate the system. However, what if data being generated from the company’s connected radon detection systems indicates that 20 homeowners in the same region have similar readings? The manufacturer requires a customer experience solution intelligent enough to pick up on this trend and take logical next actions, which may include looking at potential manufacturing issues or even notifying a state regulatory agency to determine if radon levels are elevated in a particular area.
As products become connected, companies will have to consider the plurality of actions required to support their customers and carefully orchestrate the communications to provide seamless, preemptive service. By doing so, they will open new doors to optimize the customer relationship and gain valuable opportunities to maximize revenue.
Read the full Forrester Report: Plan Now for Customer Service in 2021, and stay tuned for Part 2: The Future of Customer Care.
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